5 reasons why I hate Starbucks


Nothing I say here is going to be profound or novel, but I feel the need to put this down in writing just to know that it’s been said. I don’t expect this blog to convince anyone who already likes Starbucks to change their opinion. I wrote this more for people who already hate Starbucks, so they can read it and not feel crazy and alone for recognizing what a cultural train wreck Starbucks is while everyone else seems to be celebrating the disaster.

1. Overpriced products

In an impossibly perfect utopia all prices would be fair and reasonable. In a dystopian world everything would cost as much as vendors could get away with charging. Starbucks charges five dollars for ten cents of liquid. Even after factoring in the costs of paying employees and maintaining a building, Starbucks is still gouging its customers, and price gouging is immoral.

It may seem like a few dollars for a little cup of coffee isn’t a big deal, but it is. Every dollar a customer spends is a dollar they earned by working.  When you spend a dollar you’re effectively spending minutes of your life, and those minutes are invaluable and irreplaceable.

It took the universe about fourteen billion years of inexplicable expansion and transformation to create the planet that sprouted your family tree. There was practically a one in infinity chance of you ever being born, and now that you’re here you only get a few years to experience the majesty of sentient existence. Every second is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make the most out of life before the future runs out and your past is sealed for all eternity. Starbucks tricks its customers into trading that for a ten cents cup of coffee. Why? So the owners and investors can get filthy rich and live the opulent lives that poor people only dream about.

When you walk into Starbucks and ask the barista how much a cup of coffee costs they should just spit in your face and shout, “Fuck you. That’s how much.” That would be honest.

2. Their marketing angle is to appeal to vain rich people

Starbucks isn’t honest though. It markets itself as a friendly, happy place that values and celebrates its customers (as it fucks them in the ass). Starbucks lies through its teeth to its customers to manipulate them into paying unreasonable prices for coffee. That’s unethical, and anyone who treats you like that is not your friend.

I boycott Starbucks if for no other reason than I refuse to call a small cup of coffee a tall cup of coffee. It’s not tall. It’s small. The only reason Starbucks calls a small cup of coffee “tall”  is to manipulate its customers into feeling like they’re not getting ripped off. Renaming the coffee sizes is blatant, in-your-face manipulation. It’s unethical and disrespectful.

And yet Starbucks’ customers celebrate being manipulated into paying too much for a cup of coffee. Why? The people who run Starbucks know why: because their customers are vain. I don’t say that to be rude or shocking. Everyone knows Starbucks cups are status symbols. That’s practically the whole point of paying six dollars for a cup of coffee. You’re not even really paying to drink the coffee. You’re paying to hold an iconic white and green cup in your hand that tells the world, “I’m so well off that I can afford to pay six dollars for a ten cent cup of coffee.”

It bothers me that Starbucks’ customers celebrate their vanity, but it bothers me more that Starbucks encourages and takes advantage of its customers’ character flaws. In doing so, Starbucks has helped create a culture of pettiness and irresponsible spending. It has literally made society less mature and thus less civil. That’s unethical, and anyone who would do that is not your friend.

3. Anyone who feeds you addictive chemicals is not your friend

I’ve heard that coffee is actually good for your health as long as you don’t drink enough to get kidney stones. Personally, I’m addicted to coffee. I love it and would never want it banned. I don’t harbor any ill will towards businesses that sell coffee, but let’s just be clear about the fact that Starbucks’ business model is based on selling an addictive chemical to addicts. The people running Starbucks are lucidly aware of this fact, and they deserve a pat on the back for being clever businessmen, but their business model is one moral step below a liquor store. So they don’t deserve a pat on the back for caring about their customers.

4. They pay their workers poorly

Imagine working at a Starbucks and watching customers spend more on a single order than you get paid in an hour. Imagine watching that all day, every day until you start to wonder, “I’m doing all the work here. Why don’t I get to keep more of this money?” The reason you can’t keep more of the money is because the owners and investors of Starbucks need to get filthy rich, and they can’t get filthy rich without paying you barely enough to survive and not nearly enough to build a life with.

This is true of every franchise store, not just Starbucks. I’m as disappointed with those businesses as I am with Starbucks.

5. They force their workers to dress and act like slave bitches

It’s bad enough to pay workers as little as possible, but it adds insult to injury when you force those workers to act like they’re as happy as their wedding day every moment they spend at their thankless, soul-crushing job where vain, pretentious, entitled customers have free reign to bully them. It’s even more unethical to actually succeed at convincing your workers that they should want to act like the perfect, obliviously joyful customer service bitch. Working at Starbucks isn’t an opportunity. It’s an insult. Even if I was willing to pay $5 for a cup of coffee, I can’t go into a Starbucks because the forced smiles on the faces of the wage slaves serving me just break my heart.

However you felt about this post, you may feel similarly about these:

15 responses to “5 reasons why I hate Starbucks

  • Danger

    America being “obese and caffeine addicted” is no reason not to just speak fucking english and call the sizes small, medium, large, and extra large. For that reason alone I’ll never go to a Starbucks. I’d just as soon go to a McDonalds’ and order a Whimmetty Wham Wham Wazzle size. Sounds just as sane as the word “Trenta” coming out of my mouth, which it won’t.


  • Annienttnt

    LOL true story, but the only reason why I signed up there is to get free shit :/


  • Lance

    I’ve suddenly realized how much I hate Starbucks recently. I’ve noticed the types of people that walk around with their coffee and they’re all the types I really don’t like. I wouldn’t even call them rich, often times they’re just stuck up and arrogant. I often feel like I’d like to go up to them and kick their coffee cup out of their hand lol they wouldn’t do anything except yell and maybe cry.
    The biggest thing I hate is the overpriced mediocre coffee(6/10). It definitely is burnt. Tim Horton’s coffee(9/10) is light years better. It’s funny though that people actually consider it a status symbol though because you can get a cup for $2 which i can afford and I’m by no means rich. $2 isn’t that far off from Tim Horton’s extra large. I’ve never bought their other drinks that are up to $5 often. In the end Starbucks is a liberal and vain company they can keep their 6/10 burnt coffee and I’ll stick to home brewed and occasionally Tim Horton’s. I feel less guilty giving Tim Horton’s my money too and they have good donuts (:



    The only issue I will address here is the quality, price and taste of Starbucks coffee. The coffee is made from over-roasted coffee beans and has a distinct burnt taste. To add insult, they charge over $2 for a cup of coffee. Starbucks is horrible. Why would anyone actually drive to one, to get a cup of that disgusting coffee? Do yourself a favor when going out to get a cup of coffee. Go to your nearest 7-11. For under $1, you will get a delicious, fresh cup of hot coffee. They use a brand called “Mother Parkers”. This is what coffee should taste like.


  • Kandace

    There are a lot of reasons to hate Starbucks, but you didn’t list some of the most important reasons.
    Like, you know, the fact that they brew huge fucking pots of decaf coffee that they know nobody is going to drink only to throw it out a couple of hours later. (This isn’t a rumor – as a former Starbucks employee I can confirm that this is true)
    Or the fact that they are literally a monopoly when it comes to coffee, and small business owners can’t compete. The only serious competition Starbucks has is McDonalds, and that’s because McDonalds was already an established fast food franchise by the time they actually because competition for Starbucks. But at least McDonalds has competition in fast food – Burger King, Wendy’s, Jack in the Box, Whataburger, and Carl’s Jr, to name a few. There is no exclusively coffee franchise that is anywhere near as established as Starbucks. Hell, Starbucks even goes as far as to buy out independent coffee shops and call them independent despite the fact that they’re owned by the Starbucks company, like they’re trying to trick people.
    Also, Starbucks workers can barely be considered baristas. A Starbucks “barista” is to a true barista what a fast food worker is to a professional chef. A common phrase I’ve seen baristas use is “barista, not button pusher” since Starbucks workers are essentially button pushers. Being a true barista is an art, to be honest. I admire anyone who is a real barista.
    To be honest, as much as I hate Starbucks as a business, I do enjoy their drinks. But I don’t go in there to buy a simple cup of drip coffee or a latte or even a mocha. I go there to buy things I can’t buy at, say, McDonalds, like a white chocolate mocha. Words cannot describe how happy I was to hear that McDonalds is now selling Pumpkin Spice Lattes.


  • kay

    They pay their workers just above minimum wage and barely give them hours, so that person that’s making your latte will be there from 4:30 am to 9 am which is the busiest shift and will only get 4 and a half hours which means they will slave away serving hundreds of customers and hundreds of attitudes in that short time for 36 dollars before taxes. And to the snobby person that said machines could do a baristas job, yes they could if everyone just ordered regular coffee instead of the ridiculously complicated drinks they choose to order instead. Also baristas have to have a smile on their face and rush and take your attitude while you order 5 drinks in under a minute. Like excuse me do you think I just memorized all your orders before I can even put them into the computer.


  • whister

    I just became a hater because after leaving the store 10 minutes ago, I’m wearing my tall drip coffee . . . let me explain they’ve always been pricy, pretentious and bullies, but, at least they used to have decent food, above average coffee, good service and nice hangouts. WTF happened?? Coffee & food quality steadily going south, quality of the cups/lids etc now sucks (which is why me and my car were just bathed in charbux), staff is either apathetic or grouchy (blame mgmt) and store design/atmosphere now generic/uninviting/cold. It’s become (some would say, always has been) “not so” fast food. I expect badness at McD, but, sbux always touted itself as something better. Very dissapointed


  • Naive Koala

    The reason they’re paid poorly is because the work they do requires minimal training/cognitive ability. Any monkey can be trained to perform the menial tasks of a starbucks employee. Their skills are not worth $20 an hour. If the minimum wage was raised to 20$ an hour they would be replaced by machines.

    I really enjoyed reading through your blog tonight, and you have some very insightful posts in regards to a large variety of subjects, but you sound economically illiterate arguing for higher minimum wages. I have a very rudimentary understanding of economics so far, I’ve hardly skimmed the surface of the topic but even I could tell you that minimum wage is detrimental to the poor.

    The anti-rich hate is being propagated by the media that has a heavily socialist slant on basically everything these days. I’m struggling to understand how you seem to see right through the military industrial complex for what it is but fall for the basic anti-corporation, pro-regulation, marxist propaganda I see being spread.

    I don’t mean for this to come off as some shallow ad hominem,but I feel some strong economic fallacies behind this particular article.You’re free to hate starbucks for baiting people’s vanity; I felt that was a valid point. However arguing their CEO earns too much, or their workers deserve more money is ludicrous.The workers are being paid for their services, it’s not a charity service.

    You should check out Hazlit’s economics in one lesson, great read. Dispels most economic fallacies with great clarity.



    • wise sloth

      Thank you for your comment. Since you asked I will try to explain my point of view on minimum wage laws, which I didn’t elaborate on in this particular post (but I guess I should have). The first reason I believe the minimum wage should be higher is because I do not believe that the true value of an hour of a human’s life is measured by the rarity of their job skills but by the rarity of human life, which is infinitely valuable. While capitalism has its virtues, the predatory flavor of capitalism practiced in America assumes that if a person can be exploited then they should be. I’m not advocating full on socialism as an alternative. I’m just saying, unchecked exploitation overlooks the value of human life.

      Secondly, I reject the notion that minimum wage employees such as baristas are unskilled monkeys. I explore that concept further in this blog: 7 Reasons Why The Minimum Wage Should be Higher.

      Thirdly, I believe the true worth of an employee to a company is not equal to the lowest amount employees are willing to be paid or by the difficulty of their job. The true value of their labor is measured by the amount of profit their existence brings the company. Take for example, a janitor. They’re unskilled laborers who are easily replaced. However, if they did not exist then everyone in the company would have to spend valuable time cleaning up messes. The janitor frees up every employee’s time allowing all of them to do their work and bring the company more money. So the value of the janitor should be measured by the extra profit made by freeing up that time. As for baristas, Starbucks would not exist at all without them. They are the primary source of profits for Starbucks and deserve to be paid relative to the profits Starbucks would lose if they did not exist. I’m not saying they deserve all the company’s profits, but they (and every other employee of every company) deserve to be paid a percentage of their company’s profits commiserate with what the company would lose if they did not exist.

      Unfortunately, the entire global economy is so fundamentally based on greed that any attempt at tinkering with wages will inevitably be undermined by other forces. The solution to this problem is not to keep doing the same thing we’ve been doing and hope it will do anything other than continue to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. The solution is to fundamentally redesign the economy so that people’s survival does not depend on making, selling and buying as much stuff as possible. I do not believe that a purely Socialist or Communist system would fix these problems. I propose that companies and/or cities operate like self-sufficient monasteries that minimize living expenses for its resident workers, produce most of what its members need to sustain life in-house while also producing luxury goods to sell and trade (without being dependent on those sales for survival). In a perfect world I would build these companies/cities on floating islands in international waters where they can exist free of the regulations of corrupt governments. I explore this idea further in this blog: My 1 Point Solution to the World’s Problems.


  • BJH

    They pay their workers very well actually. Handsome raises every six months, minimum 15 hours a week to maintain health insurance, distribute tips evenly, give every employee 30% off all drinks/merchandise, free drinks before, during, and after your shift, and a markout of a free pound of coffee beans every week.


    • wise sloth

      Just because they pay slightly above minimum wage doesn’t mean they’re generous. $22 per hour is what it takes to make a living and a life. Baristas get about half that. That means Starbucks is halfway to the minimum of what it takes to be decent.


      • sarah

        I currently get paid 7.35 an hour with tips usually coming out around 25 per week. The insurance would take too much out of my paycheck in order for me to pay bills. I took the job as a temporary position until I could get my career started and I got to say it’s been a real eye opener. I’m shocked at how low the wages are considering how hard they want you to work. I can’t wait to leave.


    • Emily

      As a Starbucks partner, I’d like to refute all the above accusations.

      1) They’re overpriced.

      There are indeed some products that can go up to $4.00 for a Latte (which is barely coffee and 90% milk). But true-blue coffee drinkers spend about $2.00 for their cup of coffee. Not to mention, refills are only $0.50 cents.

      2) Marketing Scheme

      They are not trying to lie to customers. We don’t think our customers are ignorant enough to believe a “tall” is a “small.” Rather, when the company first started, there were two sizes: short and tall.
      Because America is filled with obese, coffee-obsessed lunatics, they demanded more sizes. We then added a larger size than the tall: the Grande. Meant to be the largest. But customers weren’t satisfied, so to please to masses, we added the largest hot coffee: the Venti. Though that still was not enough for some people. That being said, the company came out with it’s largest iced coffee size, the Trenta.
      The sizes are now: short, tall, grande, venti, and trenta. In that order. But it started as just short and tall.

      3) Addictive Substances

      If you don’t like it, don’t drink it.

      4) They pay their workers poorly.

      Actually, they don’t. Not including raises and tips, Starbucks gives their partners some of the best benefits in the business. Being a Barista isn’t supposed to be a career. It’s supposed to be a stepping stone. Either to management in the company (which pays better) or to a new career. They help their partners get there. They give them the benefits they need and they even pay for their schooling. They want their partners to succeed.

      5) They force their workers to act like slaves.

      Well, the mandatory whippings aren’t as bad as they sound.
      Seriously? You’re mad that they want their partners to treat their customers with respect?
      Yes, our job is hard. Yes, we get yelled at. Yes, people lie to our faces every day. Welcome to customer service.
      But the company makes it as easy as possible. The company stance is always, “just say yes.”
      No matter what. They tell partners that it’s better for them to not have to argue with customers or deal with issues, but just say yes to whatever they want. Make the customer happy. Then, when our customers are happy, they are nicer to the baristas, thus, making the baristas happy.


      • K Edwards

        1. True-blue coffee drinkers? True-blue coffee drinkers spend less than a dollar per cup considering they brew at home. True-blue coffee drinkers also tend pick up their coffee at 7-Eleven, Burger King, Dunkin Doughnuts or another Starbucks imitation store that provides a cheaper and equally tasty brew. And you’re supporting $0.50 refills? America is the home of free refills and bottomless coffee cups at traditional diners.

        2. Uhh, yes we Americans are obese and caffeine-addicted people. But why has literally every other fast food and cafe behaved normally and simply introduced the sizes “medium” and “extra large” sizes instead of creating a blatantly faux Italian naming scheme? It’s absurd.

        3. I agree.

        4 & 5. Most people who are baristas are not vying for a corporate “career” at Starbucks. Unless you’re a one-in-a-million Michael Dell type of barista that rises through sales and into the actual corporate ladder, barista is where you start and where you stay when you work at Starbucks. If you want a career, you get a college degree or other experience in the field of business and apply for a job, not waiting for management to hold your hand.

        Secondly, the only reason why Starbucks doesn’t pay there their employees absolute minimum wage is to create a more exclusive atmosphere; the employees feel more entitled being called and paid as a “barista” as compared to a worker at a McDonalds for example. Starbucks wants a more “hipster” and liberal employee basis to create their elitist atmosphere.

        And 6. Why does all the food at Starbucks taste so terrible? Practically every other cafe and most fast food places have better tasting savory dishes. Almost every other pastry/dessert shop had better tasting sweets.


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